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bedcat

Bad Back Pain Fears

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I feel a little bit silly posting again but I just found this forum and I'm feeling so terrible lately and in need of help and reassurance. I'm so fearful that I have pancreatic cancer and lately my back has been hurting a lot - a lot of soreness in the upper back and shoulders and there is also a spot in the middle of my spine that when I press on it it really hurts. The upper back soreness feels a lot like tense muscles but the spot on my spine is different, it really only hurts when I press on it. I have read that pancreatic cancer causes back pain so of course this is where my mind is going, but I can't find anything that explains what that type of back pain feels like. Just wondering if anyone has experienced having a tender or sore spot on their spine and what it could be? 

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Don't know what it could be, but I'm sure there are tons of valid and benign explanations. Yes, it happens to me occasionally. Probably a sore/tense muscle, or a light bruise or other injury. Just because "back pain can be a symptom of pancreatic cancer" does not mean it's remotely likely. A cough can be a sign of lung cancer, leg pain can be a symptom of bone, soft tissue cancer or a blood clot, etc. But they almost always are NOT those things.

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I asked my physician about pancreatic cancer and he told me that usually it is abdominal pain which radiates to the back and not back pain by itself. 

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Thanks both of you for replying. I actually do have abdominal pain intermittently which is what sparked the fear as I know that that combined with back pain can be a symptom of pancreatic cancer. But it doesn't feel like the abdominal pain is radiating exactly, it feels like they're two separate things. I'm so mentally exhausted from this. I would give anything to let it go. I just wish I knew how. I have two counselling appointments set up for next week as well as a follow-up with my GP so I'm hoping next week I'll be able to start to get a handle on my anxiety.

I have had a normal ultrasound and a bunch of normal blood tests. My doctor didn't want to do a CT scan as she felt it wasn't necessary. She did say if my stomach wasn't improving that she would refer me for an upper endoscopy but that "it would take months". I'm unsure as to whether I should push for a CT scan or not? Would it just make things worse for me? The anticipatory anxiety would be almost unbearable I think, as well as waiting to hear the results, and who knows whether or not I would be reassured anyway. Should I just try to believe her or would it be worth it to ask for more testing? I just don't know.

Thanks again

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My back is hurting a lot today and I'm fixating on it. It feels like the muscles on either side of my upper back, right next to my spine, are sore. Mostly my left, and I can feel it a bit in my left arm and hand as well - not pain or tingling exactly, but just "there". I haven't done anything to injure my back but I'm always hunching my shoulders due to stress and don't have great sitting posture so I'm wondering if that could be what's causing the strain. I read (I know :( ) that upper back pain is caused by "sinister" things more than lower back pain, so of course my mind won't stop.

It's not like I've never had back pain before, but I'm in a terrible period of anxiety right now so I can't stop thinking about it. I'm wondering, is it really possible for pain to worsen just by thinking about it constantly? 

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The other morning I turned in an odd way and boy did I get a whopper of a lower back pain. If it did not last just a few seconds I would have gone to the ER as it was that bad. 

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I had similar pain.  Turns out I have arthritis and a couple of bulging discs (and some spinal deformities, go me!)  

I threw my back out a few days ago; I was literally crawling around the house because I couldn't stand or walk.  Doc set me up with some anti-inflammatories and told me to call back if it wasn't any better the next day.   

Back pain is super common and has tons of causes, most of them not serious.

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11 minutes ago, mollyfin said:

I had similar pain.  Turns out I have arthritis and a couple of bulging discs (and some spinal deformities, go me!)  

I threw my back out a few days ago; I was literally crawling around the house because I couldn't stand or walk.  Doc set me up with some anti-inflammatories and told me to call back if it wasn't any better the next day.   

Back pain is super common and has tons of causes, most of them not serious.

Who diagnosed you with arthritis and what tests diagnose you for it?

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I got an MRI of my spine and pelvis.  It was intended to look for a trapped nerve or other causes of numbness and back pain, but it showed that, which explains why my lower back hurts so dang often.

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I should add you said your pain was intermittent. Cancer pain tends to be both progressive and constant. The people I know who were unfortunate enough to suffer with cancer did not have pain that came and went.

 

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My back pain is directly linked to my stress/anxiety level. My back tightens up when I’m stressed and then it hurts. When I’m feeling good it doesn’t do that. Back pain is the most common reason people are their doc, it is very common.

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On 1/11/2019 at 11:20 AM, bedcat said:

I feel a little bit silly posting again but I just found this forum and I'm feeling so terrible lately and in need of help and reassurance. I'm so fearful that I have pancreatic cancer and lately my back has been hurting a lot - a lot of soreness in the upper back and shoulders and there is also a spot in the middle of my spine that when I press on it it really hurts. The upper back soreness feels a lot like tense muscles but the spot on my spine is different, it really only hurts when I press on it. I have read that pancreatic cancer causes back pain so of course this is where my mind is going, but I can't find anything that explains what that type of back pain feels like. Just wondering if anyone has experienced having a tender or sore spot on their spine and what it could be? 

Hey bedcat. Just seen your post on my old thread, but figured it made more sense to respond here.

So, first, it's clear I'm not a doc (I actually have two good friends who are docs, but they won't answer my questions because they know it feeds my anxiety lol), but I just wanted to pass on a bit of knowledge I picked up through my incessant googling on the topic of PC while I was at the height of my panic (I'm still a little anxious, but it's under control now). The back pain you talk about is probably muscular, and like mine (in the same spot between the shoulders) I would bet that its aggravated by some sort of movement. Mine is intermittent, and when I make my chin touch my chest I feel the strain in the same area you describe. Back pain from PC isn't dependent on movement, with the exception of temporary relief from bending forward, assuming a fetal position, or worsening when laying on your back. The reason why back pain occurs is because the tumor gets big enough to invade the massive bundle of nerves called the celiac plexus, which causes very very severe "boring" abdominal pain that radiates through the back (epigastric region, just below the breast bone). It can also happen as back pain only, but nerve pain would be such a distinct,throbbing, shooting, and constant pain, that you likely wouldn't confuse it with ache-y shoulders. Also, I've never heard of spinal tenderness being an issue with PC. The fact that the one spot is tender on your spine makes me think it's a small injury... I also have a vertebrae thats tender in the mid/lower back. I sit at a desk all day so my posture is likely affecting my back health. And like I said, the source of back pain in PC is invasion of the nerves, so it's clear that the source of the pain in that tender spot is superficial.

Do you still have abdominal pain? What's it feel like? Does it move around? Mine moves around and can feel crampy or like a weird pinching sensation. Sometimes its upper right,upper left, around the belly button, and lower left/right. It usually only lasts seconds at a time and hasnt progressed to any levels more than a slight discomfort. Sometimes its relieved by farting or bowel movements,sometimes it just disappears. My doc's insight is that it sounds nothing like cancer pain, as it isnt worsening, and it migrates, and she said that cancer pain generally doesn't migrate and it gets worse and constant over time. Her guess was that it's my bowels or simply stress. Its been about 3 months since I started experiencing this symptom, and its almost gone away entirely. 

Any weight loss? Apparently weight just melts off with PC for a variety of reasons. I had read a journal article that said 75% of people with PC on the head of the organ (the area that makes you yellow) will suffer weight loss by diagnosis, and those with tumors in the body/tail will suffer weight loss 100% of the time by diagnosis. I suffered weight loss of about 5lbs and thought I was dying... but PC weight loss is obvious, we're talking 30lbs in a month or so, without trying. I've since gained 14lbs (unfortunately hah).

I know it's hard to hear, but you're just anxious, like I was. So try to reassure yourself that everything is fine with your pancreas. I know this is breaking a big rule, but I actually found that researching "why/how" the symptoms occur made me feel better the more I understood. I think part of the reason so many hypochondriacs fear PC is because it's symptoms are very very vague, and it's called a "silent" killer. But know how and why vague symptoms were actually caused by PC made me feel better. 

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On 1/14/2019 at 12:47 PM, lofwyr said:

I should add you said your pain was intermittent. Cancer pain tends to be both progressive and constant. The people I know who were unfortunate enough to suffer with cancer did not have pain that came and went.

 

Thank you lofwyr - it is definitely intermittent and that is a huge reassuring factor. 

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On 1/14/2019 at 2:22 PM, Iugrad91 said:

My back pain is directly linked to my stress/anxiety level. My back tightens up when I’m stressed and then it hurts. When I’m feeling good it doesn’t do that. Back pain is the most common reason people are their doc, it is very common.

Thanks for the reassuring comment. There is no doubt that my back is tight as well as sore. Massage seems to help somewhat but as you say, I think stress has so much to do with it. I think the reason that I was so worried was that I was experiencing abdominal pain as well, and of course linked that to the worst case scenario. My abdominal pain is better in the last week though, so I'm encouraged by that. Thanks again.

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On 1/16/2019 at 7:38 PM, Hypomania said:

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply - very much appreciated. So what you describe about your back (feeling strain when you touch your chin to your chest) sounds exactly like mine. Very reassuring to hear that PC back pain isn't dependent on movement - also I wouldn't describe mine as severe - it's more of a nagging thing most of the time and definitely intermittent. So that's reassuring as well, thanks so much.

My stomach has been much better for about a week, but it's been bothering me so much in the last 3 months that I can't help but fear it's going to come back - it was really distressing at times. Basically I had a kind of a dull pain in the upper epigastric region that was there pretty much all the time but came and went in terms of how bothersome it was. Like my back, it was never severe - just bothersome. I also had some discomfort under my right rib and in my right side that would come and go. I had nausea as well that would last a few days and then get better, then come back again, as well as a lot of burping which isn't usual for me at all. I had no appetite and lost a bit of weight but when I read about weight loss being a symptom of PC I was so scared that I forced myself to eat enough to maintain my weight, lol. For a while there I was weighing myself several times a day to make sure it hadn't gone down. In the past week, it's come up a bit because my appetite is so much better. My doctor prescribed ppis and since I've been taking them I've felt better, so who knows, it could have had something to do with stomach acid or it could have been 100% anxiety. I do know that anxiety contributed to it at least in part, I've accepted that and I'm getting help for my HA. 

Anyway, thanks again for your kind reply. Hope you're feeling good, I'm really glad to hear that your stomach issues have almost disappeared. So comforting to connect with people who think the same way as me :) 

 

On 1/16/2019 at 7:38 PM, Hypomania said:

 

 

Hey bedcat. Just seen your post on my old thread, but figured it made more sense to respond here.

So, first, it's clear I'm not a doc (I actually have two good friends who are docs, but they won't answer my questions because they know it feeds my anxiety lol), but I just wanted to pass on a bit of knowledge I picked up through my incessant googling on the topic of PC while I was at the height of my panic (I'm still a little anxious, but it's under control now). The back pain you talk about is probably muscular, and like mine (in the same spot between the shoulders) I would bet that its aggravated by some sort of movement. Mine is intermittent, and when I make my chin touch my chest I feel the strain in the same area you describe. Back pain from PC isn't dependent on movement, with the exception of temporary relief from bending forward, assuming a fetal position, or worsening when laying on your back. The reason why back pain occurs is because the tumor gets big enough to invade the massive bundle of nerves called the celiac plexus, which causes very very severe "boring" abdominal pain that radiates through the back (epigastric region, just below the breast bone). It can also happen as back pain only, but nerve pain would be such a distinct,throbbing, shooting, and constant pain, that you likely wouldn't confuse it with ache-y shoulders. Also, I've never heard of spinal tenderness being an issue with PC. The fact that the one spot is tender on your spine makes me think it's a small injury... I also have a vertebrae thats tender in the mid/lower back. I sit at a desk all day so my posture is likely affecting my back health. And like I said, the source of back pain in PC is invasion of the nerves, so it's clear that the source of the pain in that tender spot is superficial.

Do you still have abdominal pain? What's it feel like? Does it move around? Mine moves around and can feel crampy or like a weird pinching sensation. Sometimes its upper right,upper left, around the belly button, and lower left/right. It usually only lasts seconds at a time and hasnt progressed to any levels more than a slight discomfort. Sometimes its relieved by farting or bowel movements,sometimes it just disappears. My doc's insight is that it sounds nothing like cancer pain, as it isnt worsening, and it migrates, and she said that cancer pain generally doesn't migrate and it gets worse and constant over time. Her guess was that it's my bowels or simply stress. Its been about 3 months since I started experiencing this symptom, and its almost gone away entirely. 

Any weight loss? Apparently weight just melts off with PC for a variety of reasons. I had read a journal article that said 75% of people with PC on the head of the organ (the area that makes you yellow) will suffer weight loss by diagnosis, and those with tumors in the body/tail will suffer weight loss 100% of the time by diagnosis. I suffered weight loss of about 5lbs and thought I was dying... but PC weight loss is obvious, we're talking 30lbs in a month or so, without trying. I've since gained 14lbs (unfortunately hah).

I know it's hard to hear, but you're just anxious, like I was. So try to reassure yourself that everything is fine with your pancreas. I know this is breaking a big rule, but I actually found that researching "why/how" the symptoms occur made me feel better the more I understood. I think part of the reason so many hypochondriacs fear PC is because it's symptoms are very very vague, and it's called a "silent" killer. But know how and why vague symptoms were actually caused by PC made me feel better. 

 

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